Headteacher's Blog - July 2019
In September 2019, I commence my ninth year at Park Lane Primary School; the time has passed so quickly and so much has changed. I am however grateful and very thankful to have the opportunity to work with our amazing staff, and the wonderful parents/carers who support their children and this community school.
As the school year draws to a close, I look back on our achievements which are the result of all the staff, governors and parents/carers’ hard work. The children have also worked hard to achieve excellent results in their learning particularly the year 6 students who excelled in their SATs results.
This week, year 6 have put on a wonderful production of Alice in Wonderland and on Friday 19th July, they made their final visit to the stage when their graduation took place in the school hall. I am confident that our year 6 children are ready to commence their secondary school education and I wish them well in this new phase of their life.
Thursday 18th July was an exciting day for all the other children at Park Lane Primary School. Meet the Teacher Day gave the children the opportunity to spend the morning in their new classroom and meet their class teacher for the first time. It is a day, that both staff and children look forward to and allows class teachers to set their expectations for the forthcoming school year.
Over the past month, our children have attended various fun day class trips. Nursery, reception, years 1, 2 and 3 visited the cinema. Year 4 spent a day at the London Zoo; our SEN children enjoyed their time at the London Aquarium; the school debating club spent an afternoon touring the houses of Parliament and Mrs Kannan and I spent an inspirational summer’s day with my creative writing group at the former home of Sir Winston Churchill, Chartwell in Kent.
Our year 6 children returned from their residential stay at PGL with memories enough to last a lifetime. While there, they participated in an abundance of outdoor activities designed to promote team building skills and confidence. The activities included archery, rifle shooting, zip wire, aero ball, climbing, the trapeze, a challenge obstacle course and abseiling. On their final evening, the children attended a disco where they were given the opportunity to show off their dance moves, and on the day prior to their departure, they built and sailed their own rafts on the lake.
The year 6 children who were unable to attend PGL, did not miss out. They were treated to a day at the Hobbledon farm and adventure playground!
Class assemblies continue to produce notable performances from our pupils. We have been rewarded with ‘A Trip Down Memory Lane’ from the nursery, Butterfly class discussed their class value – friendship, while Ladybirds took on the subject of summer. Respect and taking care of one another was the theme of 2Y’s class assembly.
International Evening was a huge success and as usual, the spectacle was overwhelmingly entertaining. The pupils and staff rehearsed for some time prior to the event, and performances included dancing, singing, poetry reading, storytelling and even a take-off of quiz show – Who Wants to be a Millionaire? We had representation from Australia, India, Iraq, Somalia, Spain, Ghana, Romania, Pakistan and Jamaica as well as the many other countries that make up our school population. The highlight for staff and pupils was, as always, the fashion show which closed the talent part of the evening before we moved down stairs to the dining hall to sample the many flavours on offer – dishes reflecting the cultural tastes and communities that came together on 5th July.
The EYFs and KS1, and KS2 Sport’s Days were held in June this year. While the children put on great displays of sportsmanship, the same cannot be said for the staff who sadly lost the tug of way competition against the parents/carers. In the end, it was Florence Nightingale house who took our first place overall.
Some of our gifted and talented children participated in a fencing workshop at Hendon organised by Miss Bevis-Smith. Our year 6 children had the opportunity to ride a horse, in line with their class value of responsibility. Whilst a little daunting for some, all of the children overcame their fears when they rode, groomed and learnt all about caring for horses.
During Science week, we had a visit from the Science Magician and children showcased all they have learned about various scientific topics, during a whole school assembly at the end of the week. This year’s theme – ‘A Science Adventure’ was explored and developed across the curriculum not just during science lessons.
Spanish Day was another highlight of the summer term. Children form each class participated in a whole school assembly during the morning and in the afternoon, learnt about famous Spanish artist Salvador Dali and created their own works of art. Year 4 also visited the Spanish School in Portobello Road on Monday 17th June.
On the same day, school caterer Taylor Shaw ran healthy eating workshops and at the end of the week, we held the annual Park Lane Primary School Summer Fair.
This year, Park Lane Primary School was involved with the Skill Builders partnership and our year 6 pupils visited various sites and attended workshops run by the group. Skill Builders also visited our school where they led a challenge day workshop when a specially constructed crime scene was created and the children had to determine who the guilty party was from the clues left behind.
Earlier in the term, several of our year 5 children accompanied by our Black Caribbean Champion Mr. White, attended the first Annual Black-Caribbean Educational and Enrichment Summit at Chalkhill Primary School. The day included activities designed to enhance and deepen learning across the curriculum.
As you will be aware, no doubt, our year 2 pupils reared and cared for ten chicks from eggs. The chicks were initially cared for by the children in the class room, they are now living comfortably in their chicken coop in the butterfly garden. They are quite big now and will be looked after by the site managers – Mr. Brown and Mr. Martin, over the summer break. I am sure the children and staff will be as interested as I am to see how big they have grown during the summer and if they have started laying eggs.
Please remember to encourage your children to read over the summer holiday. Visit your local library, visit parks and museums. Have an enjoyable break; I will see you bright and early on Wednesday 4th September when the 2019/20 school year commences.
Headteacher's Blog - May 2019
This has been a short half term but a productive one nonetheless. After months of working hard, year 6 pupils can finally breathe a sigh of relief as they have completed their SATs. The hard work continues for year 6 however, as rehearsals for their end of year production commence. I am looking forward to the production which will take place during July later this year.
During this final week before the half term break, year 2 children have also completed SATs testing; years 3, 4 and 5 undertook optional testing.
This week was national Walk to School Week. We always try to encourage our children to walk to school as it is the healthy alternative to being driven to school. The health benefits of exercise are, of course, widely known but a walk to school can help to invigorate the mind and ‘wake up your brain’ so you arrive at school, ready to learn. On Thursday 23rd May, we celebrated Happy Shoes Day at Park Lane Primary School, when the children and staff attended school in their favourite shoes or shoes that make them happy!
During the month of May, some of our lucky year 5 pupils attended a residential stay at the Gordon Brown Centre. Over 3 days, they participated in various activities including archery, a river walk, climbing wall and an obstacle course; the annual bon fire was delightful and the children and staff were fortunate to experience favourable weather conditions during their stay.
There have been several school trips in line with the curriculum. They include Year 1’s visit to the Natural History Museum, Year 2’s visit to the Science Museum and Year 3’s trip to Wembley Stadium. Several children have been attending Brent Field Learning Hub on a weekly basis to help build confidence and self-esteem, along with concentration. On Thursday 23rd May, some of our SEN children attended Northala Fields as part of our objective to extend the curriculum beyond the class room.
Casting agents from CBeebies’ conducted a workshop with our Year 1 students as they are looking for children to join them for filming of the new series of Yolanda’s Band Jam. We will hear back from them later in the year to learn if any of our pupils have been cast.
Class 6Y enjoyed an afternoon of gardening when we planted black currants, tomatoes, cabbage and beans in the butterfly park. New additions have also taken up residence in the butterfly park as our 10 chicks and 1 cockerel have been moved from their incubator in 2G to a spacious chicken coop. Patience is the value assigned to year 2 and class 2G have exercised their patience during this experience of watching chicks hatch from eggs, and now waiting for the chickens to grow old enough to produce their own eggs.
Class assemblies have been enlightening, we heard from 1Y who spoke about the importance of Ramadan for Muslims, and 5G put on a play based on Charles Dickens’ Oliver Twist!
Finally, pupil Tharun Kannan who graduated from our school last year returned briefly when he produced a colourful mural highlighting our school values. The mural is on the wall at the entrance to the school hall; I do hope you will take the time to enjoy it when next attending an assembly at Park Lane Primary School.
Headteacher's Blog - April 2019
From the window in my office I have a view of King Edward VII Park and I can see the lovely pink blossoms of spring. This time of year is synonymous with new growth, renewal and, in the school environment, I can see our year 6 students blooming into independent and responsible children ready to make the big move to secondary school. The SATs testing period is fast approaching and I am proud of the hard work that the children have put into their studies, particularly attending booster classes on Saturday and during their half term break.
Easter is also a time for regeneration- a time to recharge the batteries in preparation for the summer term. In the week before the Easter holidays, we saw an amazing production from year 4; the children in all year levels enjoyed the Annual Easter Bonnet Parade and on Wednesday 10th April, the children in Mahatma Gandhi house enjoyed a party for accumulating the most house points. During this half term, we have also seen some outstanding class assemblies from 1G, 3Y, 2G and 2Y, covering subjects ranging from the seasons, the Hindu festival of Holi and the traditional fairy tale – Cinderella.
During March, we celebrated English week at Park Lane Primary School. Children wrote and illustrated their own short stories, we had a visit from the book fair and a non-uniform day when the children and staff were encouraged to dress up as their favourite character from a book.
On Friday 1st March, International Triple Jump Athlete, Daniel Lewis, spent the day at our school when he promoted the benefits of exercise, eating healthily and working hard to achieve your dreams. The children participated in a sponsored fitness circuit and raised over £1800, some of which will go towards the purchase of new sports equipment for the school.
Air Network delivered a workshop to year 5 on Tuesday 26th February about gangs and how to avoid getting involved with gangs. P.C. Rose led workshops with years 4, 5 and 6 on staying safe.
The VIAM event at the SSE Wembley Arena was a huge undertaking for our school choir. On 20th March, the Green sleeves choir participated in the Voice in a Million concert along with thousands of other children from primary and secondary schools all over England. The choir also competed in the Brent KS2 Music Festival at Oakington Manor Primary School where they achieved 2 silver, 4 gold and 2 platinum commendations.
Earlier this term, we took ownership of the new school mini bus which was purchased with PSA funds. It has already been used to shuttle the children to and from year 4 swimming lessons, and to take the staff and children to Belmont Farm in Mill Hill, as part of an ‘extending the curriculum’ beyond the classroom initiative.
Park Lane Primary School had the great pleasure of hosting this year’s Brent Interschool Spelling Bee Competition. Three children from years 3, 4, 5 and 6 from each of the eight schools that participated competed for the coveted prize. Park Lane Primary School came in joint second place with St. Mary’s Primary School.
I also had the great honour of being shortlisted in the category of ‘Champion Head Teacher’ for the Wellbeing in Schools Awards run by mental health charity – Place2Be. The awards recognise the passion, determination and hard work that goes into the delivery of mental health and wellbeing support in the charity’s partner schools across the country. The work that we do as staff at Park Lane Primary School to support our pupils’ emotional wellbeing has played a vital role in supporting their high levels of achievement and attainment.
Finally, I would like to wish pupils, parents/carers and staff a safe and enjoyable holiday break. I look forward to the summer term and all the activities that we have planned for the children before we end the 2018/19 school year.
Headteacher's Blog - February 2019
Upon our return to school following the Christmas break, the children in year 6 have commenced their SATs booster classes. The children have been diligently attending each Saturday morning, and will also attend booster classes during the half term break.
On Friday 8th February, year 6 visited the London Eye and enjoyed a River Boat Cruise along the River Thames, to see other iconic landmarks including the Tower of London, the Oxo building and The Globe Theatre. As part of their Geography topic next term, year 6 will be looking at their local area in detail, and at famous landmarks within London. This trip will enable the children to have a better understanding of the history of their surroundings, specifically London.
As part of their PSHE (Personal, Social and Health Education) studies, the children in year 3 have been learning about Judaism, and on Wednesday 13th February, they attended Wembley United Synagogue to reinforce their understanding of the Jewish religion.
Year 3 have also been learning about Myths and Legends and on Friday 15th February, 3G entertained us with their play about Perseus and Medusa during their class assembly. Last week 5Y enlightened us all about the Solar System during their class assembly; and earlier this term, we were enthralled by performances from 6G, 6Y and 5G whose assemblies on ‘welcoming in the new year,’ ‘The Emperor’s New Clothes’ and ‘The Highwayman’ respectively, were outstanding.
We had an exciting visit from representatives of the Tate Museum who took photos of the children in year 3, to include in a display which will feature at the museum later this November. The project involves schools all over the UK and the children really enjoyed participating in the photo shoot.
Park Lane Primary School celebrated Maths’ Week from 28th January to 1st February with a week of maths themed activities, which included a visit from the Maths’ Magician and a ‘dress of digits’ non-uniform day at the end of the week!
Our school welcomed parents/carers of children who attend our Nursery and Reception classes, when they had the opportunity to stay and play on January 15th and 18th. Staff were on hand to answer any questions, but it was the children who introduced their family members to their class room routines. Despite the cold, parents found the outdoor class room as exciting as the children do.
Parents/carers were also invited to attend workshops on ‘Raising Resilient Children,’ and ‘Developing Good Bedtime Routines,’ and on January 24th, all parents/cares were given the opportunity to meet with their child’s class teacher to discuss their school reports. We are expecting the children to make excellent progress during the spring term.
This term, we said goodbye to Miss Fitzgerald who leaves us to return to University studies, and good luck to Mrs. Nargis Bibi who commenced maternity leave. We welcomed new members of staff – Mrs. Yasmin Hassan who joins us as SMSA, Miss Rabia Ahmed who is an extended day worker and Mrs. Vanita Aluru who joins us as a teaching assistant.
Headteacher's Blog - December 2018
The children and staff are always excited this time of year. The school building has been festively decorated and we are all looking forward to the Christmas break following all the hard work that has gone into the autumn term.
Earlier this autumn, the Rt Hon Nick Gibbs visited Park Lane Primary School to present music teacher, Ms. Kovacs, with a Yamaha Clavinova piano following her winning entry to the Classical 100 competition. Musicians from the ABRSM, who ran the competition, joined 360 of our pupils who participated in the challenge, set to Car Orff’s ‘O Fortuna,’ on Wednesday 31st October. Mr Gibb said, “I want to congratulate the children and staff at Park Lane Primary School, whose inspired musical creativity has been rightly rewarded with this generous Classical 100 award.” Following the special assembly, Nick Gibb MP enjoyed a learning walk through the school, and then joined some of the children and staff for morning tea.
I am proud of the children in year 5 who represented Park Lane Primary School at the launch of National Anti-bullying week at the Brent Civic Centre. The children read their own poetry compositions based on this year’s theme ‘Choose Respect.’ I am also proud of the achievements made by our school choir; they meet regularly to rehearse and will be participating in Brent’s ‘Voice in a Million’ during the New Year. This December, the choir performed at Beachwood Court Retirement Home and at St. John the Evangelist Church in Wembley, during their annual Carol’s event.
The children have attended a range of school trips to enhance what they have been learning as part of the curriculum. These trips include year 2’s visit to Santa’s Grotto in Watford and Reception’s attendance at the Nativity at the London Zoo. My favourite trip this autumn however, was KS2’s visit to the Lyceum theatre to see The Lion King. For many children, this has been the highlight of the year so far, for others it was the school disco on Friday 14th December.
Staff and children enjoyed a festive meal on Wednesday 12th December, with all the trimmings and Christmas crackers, and the children in year 6 exchanged gifts during their Secret Santa event.
Art week was celebrated earlier this term and each class took part in a weaving project which produced various patterns, and now combined, has formed the new display in the foyer outside of the school hall. The display represents our newly adopted school values of –
- EYFS : Friendship
- Year 1 : Determination
- Year 2 : Patience
- Year 3 : Resilience
- Year 4 : Perseverance
- Year 5 : Independence
- Year 6 : Responsibility
Park Lane Primary School also celebrated Diwali with a range of activities that were designed to introduce the children to the beliefs and traditions associated with this major religious event in the Hindu calendar.
Class 2G carried the Diwali theme over into their assembly, when they told the story of Rama and Sita. Beowulf was the theme of 5G’s class assembly, while 2Y reminded us why we think of Guy Fawkes during Bon Fire night. 4G used their experience of The Lion King theatre visit to influence their class assembly, and ‘If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again!’ was the subject of 3G’s class assembly. A big ‘well done’ to the children in EYFS and KS1 for all their hard work in preparing for, and the performance of, their Nativity productions.
I am pleased with the overall participation and attendance of parents/carers who have joined us at school for the Triple P Parenting course. Likewise, we had a great turn out at Nursery and Reception Stay and Play sessions, the E-Safety workshop and the Phonics training session. During the Head Teacher’s Coffee Morning, we discussed punctuality, attendance and lost property as well as ‘young carers’. This was also the topic of a special assembly attended by years 4, 5 and 6. They learned how to identify a young carer and who to turn to in order to access support.
Finally, I would like to wish 3G class teacher, Mr. van Amstel, and LSA – Miss Elkins, every success as they move on from their time here at Park Lane Primary School.
To pupils, staff and parents/carers, I would like to wish you all a safe and happy holiday season.
Headteacher's Blog - October 2018
We ended this first half term of the 2018/19 school year, celebrating Black History Month. The African Drummers made their annual return to Park Lane Primary School, and years 3 to 6 participated in African Dance Workshops. The day was also a non-uniform day and children were asked to dress in traditional costume, reflective of their cultural background or heritage. The children in Early Years and KS1 were treated to a visit from Spud and Yam earlier during the month.
On 8th October the Worshipful Mayor of Brent, Cllr Arshad Mahmood, attended a special assembly to announce the school councillors for the 2018/19 school year. The Red Hats and Play Leaders were also formally introduced. We held our first Head Teacher’s Coffee Morning for the school year in October, when we discussed the importance of reading with your children, phonics and supporting your children with their homework. Staff from Place2Be spoke to parents/carers about safeguarding and ensuring our children are happy and safe in an environment conducive for learning.
Also this month, year 4 were delighted by performers when they attended the Primary Proms at Royal Albert Hall. For many of our children, this was truly a unique experience and the highlight of the year so far. The children in year 6 visited the library at the Brent Civic Centre where they were given a brief history lesson on the suffragettes, from British children’s illustrator, David Roberts. Year 5 also attended the library later in the month.
During September, the staff held a charity coffee morning in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support, children in year 6 sold cakes to raise money and, along with the proceeds of the non-uniform day, we raised a phenomenal £753.35. Also in September, we held a Parents’ Information Evening when class teachers set expectations for the year ahead and highlighted school requirements regarding uniform, homework and attendance.
The children in Nursery and Reception classes that are new to our school, have settled in nicely to their week day routines and have started to form valuable friendships with their peers. Most children are now enthusiastic about school and have excellent behaviour for learning. Parents who attend the Triple P Parenting Workshops, which commenced three weeks ago, have provided positive feedback. We plan to run more courses for parents/carers at the school and will advise parents/carers via email as details become available.
A warm welcome to 1G class teacher, Miss Belle Hunter, who joins our family here at Park Lane Primary School. Miss Gabaldon, who you may recall returned to Spain earlier this year, has recently given birth to a healthy baby boy, Enrique.
Parents/carers, staff and children have also seen some amazing performances from children in years 6, 5 and 4 during the class assemblies. Both year 6 classes spoke about ‘responsibilities’ which is one of our key values. Class 5Y’s assembly was all about the dangers of lying, and 4Y recited their own poetry compositions! I look forward to some more outstanding performances when we return from half term on 29th October.